Gibraltar Issues £2.5m in Fines Across iGaming Sector for Anti-Money Laundering Failings

  • The Gibraltar Gambling Care Foundation will benefit from the financial penalties
  • The Gambling Division found insufficient AML processes across the gaming industry
  • Operators must now enhance customer verification measures to ensure compliance
Cash in a washing machine
The Gibraltar Gambling Division has fined online gaming operators for lax anti-money laundering processes. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Weak AML controls

A recent review of the online gambling sector by the Gibraltar Gambling Division uncovered anti-money laundering (AML) failings within the industry. Because of the inefficient processes currently in place, the HM Government of Gibraltar sanctioned £2.5m ($3.3m) in fines.

the money will support anti-money laundering training programs

Authorities hit operators across the online gambling industry with financial penalties, with the funds going to the Gibraltar Gambling Care Foundation. The money will support anti-money laundering training programs at Gibraltar University and employee social responsibility training.

Operators put on notice

In its assessment, the Gambling Division found that risk-based controls involving anti-money laundering tactics had improved. However, it said there were too many cases where the risk tolerance was too great and interventions took place slowly or were ineffective.

In one instance, several online gambling providers had processed money stolen from a business by an employee. The individual forged documents and provided false information to gain access to the funds.

operators must enhance customer verification and onboarding processes

The government of Gibraltar has warned about adherence to anti-money laundering duties. It requires operators to enhance customer verification and onboarding processes to ensure compliance. Technical controls must be in place, along with systems that monitor every account and transaction.

In a statement, the Gibraltar government said that executive teams under the supervision of their boards are to ensure they fully meet the Gambling Commissioner’s expectations in the area of AML. Customer support and operational teams must undergo additional training to uphold all AML and social responsibility obligations. Gambling businesses must report any suspicious activity in a timely manner.

Netherlands requires Curaçao to regulate iGaming

As Gibraltar tries to get money laundering under control, the Netherlands is asking Curaçao to tighten its online gambling industry controls. Having provided financial support to the island nation this year because of the COVID-19 crisis, it now wants to see changes within Curaçao’s online gaming licensing regime.

The Netherlands provided two rounds of funding with no requirements. Prior to the third payment, it informed Curaçao that it must implement reforms to be more “financially, economically, and administratively resilient.” The third relief effort requires Curaçao to assign an independent regulator to oversee license holders. This will ensure that everyone follows the industry’s established rules.

MGA launches suspicious betting reporting platform

In Malta, a new online platform has launched in beta form to better protect the sports betting industry. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) announced in late November that the Suspicious Betting Reporting Mechanism was live, allowing operators to easily report any suspicious betting activity.

The beta version of the program appeared on November 23. The early rollout aims for a smooth transition, ensuring that any changes are still possible before the official platform launch on January 1, 2021.